Girls' Hockey: Wallace goal sends Raptors to section finals
East Ridge senior Alyssa Wallace found the puck on her stick in double overtime Saturday and knew what to do with it.
Grace Heiting raced down the ice after a loose puck and directed a pass to Wallace who was standing in front of the Eagan goaltender. She responded by putting a wrist shot into the back of the net for a 2-1 East Ridge win in the Class 2A, Section 3 semifinals Saturday.
Wallace gave credit to her teammate for delivering the perfect pass to end the game a little more than two minutes into the double overtime period.
"It was all her, basically," Wallace said. "I just had to capitalize on it."
The goal ended a game where East Ridge fell behind early but tied the score in the second period. Eagan's Taylor Anderson scored a shorthanded goal midway through the first period for a 1-0 lead. The deficit lasted until the 9:53 mark of the second when Brehna Walz scored a power play goal. The scored remained tied 1-1 throughout the rest of regulation.
East Ridge goaltender Chloe Heiting kept the score tied through a barrage of shots by Eagan at times as the game entered overtime. The Wildcats led in shot attempts 48-29, and East Ridge needed all 47 saves by Heiting.
"I knew I could count on my team to help me out with it," Heiting said. "All I had to do was give them a chance to win, and we could do it. I just worked my hardest, and so did they. And it paid off."
Saturday was not the first time East Ridge has played an overtime game in the section playoffs. Last year, the Raptors defeated Apple Valley 3-2 in six overtimes to advance to the section semifinals where they lost 3-2 to Eastview -- also in overtime.
Apple Valley's goaltender Taylor DeForrest made 111 saves in the six-overtime section playoff game last year. Heiting joked that she had a new understanding of that experience.
"I have a new respect for her, having to face all of those," Heiting said. "I saw like half as many, and I was dying."
Third-seeded East Ridge will face No. 1 seed Eastview in the 3AA championship game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. Eastview has made two straight appearances in the state tournament over the past two seasons. Head coach Tom Kulenkamp knows the Raptors will have to put in some hard work to be ready for the section's top-seeded team.
"We know it's going to be a tough game, we've just got to have a good week of practice and come and try to be ready to play on Wednesday," Kulenkamp said.